There are few product groups within the aftermarket that are overlooked in terms of their regular examination and replacement, but the auxiliary belt and the drive system are certainly among them. Why the auxiliary drive system has traditionally been ignored can be largely attributed to the fact that it is generally a very reliable system and few vehicle manufacturers (VMs) specify its change in their service schedules.
However, Dayco is urging technicians to turn their attention to the auxiliary system for the benefit of the motorist and to provide a business opportunity for themselves.
Unlike the previous generation neoprene rubber based belt, the EPDM formulated belt used nowadays, wears very differently. During use, the previous technology would gradually lead the belt to perish by cracking or chunking
– when a section of belt actually comes off – the current EPDM technology belt wears gradually, not unlike the wear of a tyre, which makes it more difficult to detect.
As a result, technicians should use the vehicle’s mileage as their first point of reference, which means that if the vehicle has covered 60,000 miles or more, the belt should be thoroughly inspected and if it shows any sign of damage or wear, should automatically be replaced.
To help technicians correctly assess the condition of the belt, Dayco has designed the aWEARness® gauge, which provides them with three ways to check whether the belt needs to be replaced or is okay to be reinstalled. The two most relevant to an EPDM belt are the wear indicator bar, which highlights material loss and the profile indicator, that reveals whether the belt retains its correct form. Both reflect the level of wear and if the belt fails either check, it must be replaced.